How Does Vendor Risk Monitoring Work?

Discover How Vendor Risk Monitoring Functions to Safeguard Your Business Against Third-Party Risks
Written by
Published on
Wednesday, June 5, 2024
Updated on
June 5, 2024

Vendor risk monitoring is like having an early warning system for potential threats that could arise from the vendors your business works with. Vendor risk monitoring is essential for maintaining robust cybersecurity and operational integrity.

Let’s take an example of a bank. For a bank, which deals with sensitive financial data and stringent regulations, it's vital to have robust vendor risk monitoring to protect against potential threats from third-party vendors.

Understanding The Mechanics of Vendor Risk Monitoring

Vendor risk monitoring involves the continuous assessment and management of risks posed by third-party vendors. Understanding how vendor risk monitoring works can help organizations proactively address potential threats and ensure compliance.

Going back to the bank example, let’s have a step-by-step look at how vendor risk monitoring works in a banking context.

1. Vendor Discovery and Inventory

The first step in vendor risk monitoring is identifying and cataloging all vendors that the bank interacts with. This includes direct suppliers, subcontractors, and service providers. Automated tools such as CloudSEK SVigil can help scan the bank’s procurement and IT systems to in comprehensive vendor ecosystem fingerprinting.

Vendor Discovery Benefit

Example: The bank uses an automated tool to scan its procurement and IT systems to identify and catalog every vendor, including direct suppliers and fourth-party vendors. This creates a comprehensive list of all vendors involved in the bank's operations.

2. Initial Risk Assessment

After identifying vendors, the next step is to conduct an initial risk assessment. This involves evaluating each vendor's security measures, compliance with industry standards, financial stability, and operational processes. Automated tools can provide a risk score for each vendor based on these criteria.

Initial Risk Assessment Importance
Example: The bank evaluates an IT service provider’s cybersecurity measures, checking for compliance with regulations like GDPR and PCI-DSS. It also reviews the vendor's financial health to ensure they can sustain their security investments.

3. Continuous Monitoring

Vendor risk profiles can change over time due to factors like mergers, regulatory changes, or cyber incidents. Continuous monitoring involves ongoing surveillance of vendors to detect any changes in their risk profile. Tools like SVigil for continuous monitoring provides real-time alerts about any suspicious activities or breaches related to vendors.

Why continuous monitoring is required

Example: The bank sets up continuous monitoring tools that provide real-time alerts about any suspicious activities or breaches related to their IT service provider. This includes monitoring dark web forums for any mention of the vendor being compromised.

4. Regular Audits and Assessments

In addition to continuous monitoring, regular audits and assessments are crucial. These periodic reviews help maintain an up-to-date understanding of each vendor’s risk status. They involve detailed checks of vendor compliance with security policies, regulatory standards, and contractual obligations.

How Regular Audits help
Example: The bank conducts quarterly audits of its IT service provider’s security practices and compliance with contractual obligations. This involves reviewing their incident response protocols and ensuring they have up-to-date certifications.

5. Risk Mitigation Strategies

Once risks are identified, the next step is to mitigate them. This involves implementing various strategies such as renegotiating contracts to include specific security requirements, providing vendors with security training, or enforcing additional security measures.

Why Risk Mitigation is Critical
Example: The bank requires its IT service provider to implement multi-factor authentication for all their systems as part of the contract renewal process. They also provide the vendor with training on the latest cybersecurity threats and best practices.

6. Incident Response

Having a robust incident response plan is crucial for managing security incidents involving vendors. This includes defining clear protocols for responding to vendor-related security breaches, such as communication strategies, containment measures, and recovery plans.

Why Incident Response Is Critical


Example: The bank’s incident response plan includes immediate actions like disabling compromised accounts, notifying affected parties, and conducting forensic investigations in collaboration with the IT service provider.

A well-defined incident response plan ensures that security breaches are handled efficiently and effectively, minimizing damage and ensuring quick recovery.

7. Data Privacy and Compliance Monitoring

Ensuring that vendors adhere to data privacy regulations and compliance standards is crucial. This involves regular checks to ensure vendors meet all relevant legal and regulatory requirements.

Why Compliance Monitoring matters
Example: The bank reviews the IT service provider’s data handling practices to ensure compliance with GDPR. This includes verifying that data is encrypted and stored securely, and that access controls are in place.

8. Reporting and Analytics

Generating detailed reports and analyzing data to understand vendor risk trends and patterns is essential for effective vendor risk monitoring. These reports provide insights into the overall risk landscape and help identify areas for improvement. Advanced analytics tools can offer predictive insights, helping anticipate and prepare for future risks.

Also Read: Top 5 famous software supply chain attacks in 2023

Why Reporting & Analytics in important
Example: The bank generates monthly reports that detail the risk status of all vendors, trends in detected vulnerabilities, and the effectiveness of mitigation strategies. These reports are reviewed by senior management to make informed decisions.


Vendor risk monitoring is a comprehensive process that involves several critical steps, from vendor discovery to continuous monitoring and incident response planning. By implementing these steps, banks and other organizations can proactively manage vendor risks, protect sensitive information, and maintain robust cybersecurity defenses.

Get Started with SVigil

Stay ahead of vendor risks with CloudSEK’s advanced monitoring solutions. Schedule a demo of SVigil today to see how our tools can help protect your business from potential vendor-related threats.

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2023 was marked by a rise in supply chain attacks. Ensure robust protection across your software supply chain with CloudSEK SVigil.

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